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Good Snowshoe Routes?

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby Jimr » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:17 am

A great thread. This is exactly what I want to do this winter. I'll probably stick to dayhikes, then see where that takes me before I drop the $$ into winter gear.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:40 am

Lakes mid-winter are boring flat plains. Of course during transition season are dangerous to be atop. Snowshoeing in fresh snow over short distances from one's car can be wonderful but is so strenuous one is not going to go very far. That is why local enthusiasts eventually get ski set ups. During mid winter there are always large areas that one will just post hole down in because the surface never firms ups but rather just has a thin crust. During periods snow has firmed up, especially during spring, one can of course easily hike longer distances. There are numbers of Sierra hikers that can't wait to hike in the Sierra early season during May while melting spring snows still cover landscapes. Understandably novel and fun for those that are not winter sport enthusiasts but personally from a photographer's perspective, I find mid winter fresh snow conditions far more aesthetic thus rarely am out with my camera during spring season. Also during spring with the sun quickly rising to higher altitudes, the period each day when light isn't harsh is short while during mid winter with low sun angles much longer. One strategy is to snowshoe after a small storm drops just a few inches during spring after the base has firmed up. Thus landscapes and trees have a fresh coat of new snow while there is still a firm base to walk on just beneath.

Each November I am keen to visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park at short notice if a low snow level storm is due. That is because the under story of the sequoias in that park have an abundance of Pacific dogwood that undergo fall leaf color change then. Quite a wonderful experience tramping through 10 inches of fresh dry snow exploding up in white cold smoke with each step while diffuse cloud deck conditions are above in the sky as all the dogwood leaves glow magically beneath the big trees like Christmas tree ornaments.

I resort ski every winter and get the snow park season passes so I can do some fresh snow photography. The last 4 years drought years have been rather useless haha. The primary limitation is going to be finding places to park at elevations there is snow. Unlike the summer one cannot simply park beside roads because roads are plowed with very very few spots where they plow parkable pull-outs. Of course places like the Tahoe basin have quite a lot of such spots because of all the locals but other Sierra highways open during winter outside the snow park and snowmobile areas have few. And finding a parkable spot is worst after each storm. So the notion of snowshoeing or backcountry skiing has considerable limitations. Definitely get one of the guide books. Carson Pass is a good spot with nice scenery right near the snow parks.

That area has good numbers of spectacular wind shaped Sierra juniper trees. Another place I like is Giant Forest, walking about in the big Sequoia's after fresh snow.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2015_Trip_C ... html#oct16
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby rlown » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:07 am

Heck, I'm just waiting until I hear TahoeJeff's first ice fishing report! :) It'll probably be sometime in late Dec or Jan?

It really looks like fun and I have time off during the holidays.

Another place we had fun at in the snow is Crystal Basin/Loon Lake of of highway 50. The nice thing about that area is they plow, as there are reservoirs that need to be managed. We did ski back from the East end of the lake on the lake after a couple days of exploration (pure ice). I think that was '92. Anyway, at that point there was no snow on the lake so edges on the skis was very important.

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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby rlown » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:05 pm

I'll add this tidbit about some back country huts in the Tahoe area, though I haven't been.. http://clairtappaanlodge.com/backcountry-huts

It looked inviting..

and I agree with SSSdave:

Snowshoeing in fresh snow over short distances from one's car can be wonderful but is so strenuous one is not going to go very far. That is why local enthusiasts eventually get ski set ups.


back-country skis with full edges and skins.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby The hermit » Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:05 pm

Can someone post a link on back country ski equipment? I was just researching this subject last night. Thinking about a trip with Sierra mountain center. I was thinking about trying ice climbing with them but ski touring is probably better suited to my skill set
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby rlown » Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:12 pm

sure: http://www.rei.com/c/backcountry-skiing ... ing&page=3

But, looking at those prices and the really weird boots made me almost faint and :puke: Guess it's been awhile since i bought winter stuff. Heck, even the skins were expensive. I have 2 pair of Karhu 215's, one pair with 1/3 edges (fishscale bottom) and the other with full edges and waxable.

I would suggest if you want to try before you buy, find a place you can rent a package so you don't have to drop more than 1K to see if you like it.

another overview site: http://unofficialnetworks.com/2012/09/b ... t-beginner

Lots of sites out there with just a search.

Note: I'm not a big downhill fan. So the wider skis are more for support with pack over the snow and I tended to take more gentle areas. An aside, I did go down a hill my first time on skis with a pack and face planted and got to spend 20 mins putting the corrective lense back in my glasses :) Still fun!

Good luck!
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby KathyW » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:56 am

Has anyone snowshoed or skied to Mount Elwell (7818') in the northern Sierra? I'm thinking that might be a nice trip.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby HikingGeek.com » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:55 pm

Bluewater wrote:
Sabrina Basin is also a good place to start. I went right after a storm and it took most of the day to break trail through waist deep snow up to Blue Lake. From there the terrain is easier. It's much easier to get into the upper lakes (Midnight, Echo). The view of the lakes with snow capped mountains at sunset is especially beautiful in winter, and it's possible to walk over the lakes for an easy short cut:)


Is the road to Sabrina Basin usually plowed?

I am looking for something to do Nov 28. (driving up on the 27th, driving home on the 29th).

One other area I had thought of was Morgan Peak South out of Rock Creek, or possibly Cloudripper from South Lake.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby Bluewater » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:39 pm

In the winter the road is open up to the gate just past Aspendell. From there it's about 1.8 miles to the trailhead.
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:58 am

Kathy

look here for elwell snowshoe http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/elwell_1.html
Kristine
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. Albert Einstein
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby HikingGeek.com » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:11 pm

Bluewater wrote:In the winter the road is open up to the gate just past Aspendell. From there it's about 1.8 miles to the trailhead.


For a (long) dayhike, what would you consider a good turn around point if hiking out of Aspendell? Any peaks from that area (no tougher than class 2), that I should look into?



For anyone looking for another place to post their snowshoeing & winter hiking photos and trip reports), please take a look at this new group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/snowsho ... terhiking/
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Re: Good Snowshoe Routes?

Postby HikingGeek.com » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:07 pm

copeg wrote:
  • Rock Creek -> Little Lakes Valley (Snopark permit required - highly recommend)
  • Mammoth Mtn -> Minaret Summit toward Deadman Pass/San Joaquin Mtn (and beyond if ambitious and/or camping)


I'm really looking at these two options, as well as Rock Creek > Mt Morgan South.

Some questions:
Is San Joaquin Mtn doable as a long day hike?
Has anyone here hiked/snowshoed Mt. Morgan South as a winter day hike?

Both seem a bit ambitious as day trips as snowshoes, but I'd like to try :D
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